Monday, January 31, 2011

At A Loss

I'm seriously so frustrated over Brooke's sleeping situation right now that I'm could scream. I'm not angry at her or anything but I just don't know how to resolve the problem and it's driving me insane.

Here's what's going on.... She has been having a very, very hard time going to sleep at night. Sometimes she's up for hours in her room just laying there. She's not really a problem in there (except for when she comes out for random requests from time to time) but I feel bad that she's going through this. I was resolved to just cutting out her afternoon nap (though the thought alone killed me). The problem with this is that she becomes sleepy in the afternoon and very grumpy in the evenings without the sleep. I'm assuming that that just takes time for her to adjust though.

However, my whole plan went down the drain today. She slept for 20 minutes in the car at 1:15 this afternoon and when we got home she was grumpy and miserable. Her attitude and bad mood continued until 7:30 when she asked to go to bed. I thought she would drift quickly off into dreamland but I was wrong.. It's almost 10 and she is still tossing and turning in her room. I'm at my wits end!

She has no caffeine so that's definitely not the culprit and her sugar intake isn't such that she should be wired until all hours of the night. She was unable to sleep last night and was up until after 10. On top of that, she woke up abnormally early this morning at 7:15 so she should be exhausted.

I'm wondering why in the world this child won't sleep! It wouldn't bother me if Adrienne wasn't going to be moving in her room in a few weeks. I know it's silly but I have such major anxiety over this whole situation because I fear that instead of having one child up until 10 that I'll have 2. I love my children but come on, sleep is a vital part of our existence.

Does anyone have any insight on this?? Please, please, please share your tips with me. I'm in desperate need here!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Celebrating 5 Years!

Friday was our fifth Wedding anniversary! John just so happened to have this past weekend off so we could really celebrate and enjoy some time away together. He got us a hotel about an hour and a half away so we went to our favorite restaurant, shopped and relaxed. The whole trip lasted almost exactly 24 hours and it was the perfect amount of time to reconnect and rejuvinate.

Wow, how has it been five years already? When we first got married 5 years sounded like such a long time but the years have flown. Life before marriage seems like a faint memory now! I had a great life before John but my best memories and most treasured moments have been within our marriage. It sounds so cliche but I seriously feel very, very blessed to have married my best friend. My husband just "gets" me... Even the overly emotional, disorganized, and irrational side of me. It's such a blessing to have someone who knows me and loves me that deeply.

I remember on my wedding day my mom told me, "Just wait to see how much your love for John changes through the years." I didn't fully understand what she was saying but she's so right. I once thought I loved him so much but that love has magnified through the past 5 years. On top of loving him as my best friend and soul mate, I now love him as a father to my daughters and the amazing provider that he is. My mom was so right... Those are new aspects of John that I wasn't aware of on our wedding day.

I am so thankful for a Godly husband to share this crazy life with! I feel very excited about our future together and I love knowing that I have this wonderful man trudging through the ups and downs of life right along with me.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Talking Up A Storm

It seems like overnight that Adrienne went from talking in 2 word sentences to repeating anything and everything and using 3 and 4 word sentences. It's so much fun and it sure keeps life interesting.

Not only does Miss Adrienne love being a copycat but she loves to put her own spin on what we say and make it silly. Today I said, "Love you, Guys!" And she first repeated that and then said, "Love you, Cereal!" She then went on to make a whole list of things she wanted to say "I love you" to. Meanwhile, both girls were cracking up and Adrienne was so proud that Brooke appreciated her silliness.

The most precious thing that Adrienne has been saying is "Mama." Sure, she's been saying it for quite some time now but when she looks at me and says, "Help me, Mama" or "Love you, Mama," my heart swells with love for her. She's been saying a lot, also, "Want you, Mama." It's so nice to be wanted that much by someone... And so VERY often. Lol. She's a really good girl:-)

Tonight she had me cracking up because she kept lifting the bottom of my shirt up and saying, "Baby, where are you?" She would then kiss my belly and say, "Wake up!" I don't really think that she fully grasps that there's a baby in my belly but she's been hearing us talk about it so much. She's going to be a great big sister.

Where in the world did my baby go? How is she old enough to be speaking in sentences? If only I could slow time down so I can soak all of these precious moments up to the fullest!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Big Spender

A couple of months ago we starting giving Brooke an allowance. Granted, her weekly payoff is a whopping $1 but to her, that's a real jackpot. She is extremely helpful around the house... She grabs wipes/diapers for me when I'm changing Adrienne, helps put away laundry and groceries, and is altogether very tidy and cleans up after herself constantly without being asked to. We thought that she truly deserved to have something for her helpfulness and good attitude. Each Friday she gets her dollar and excitedly puts it in the drawer of her nightstand. Then, on Sundays, she puts ten cents in the offering plate for her tithe. It's extremely precious!

Brooke has collected quite a bit of money in her almost four years of life. She even has a bank account for her all her riches. We joke that she has more money than we do! Lol. So today when we were getting ready to go to Wal Mart for some groceries she asked to bring some of her money along. My first thought was "no way!" I couldn't fathom my little girl spending her own hard earned money but John quickly reminded me that that's why she gets an allowance. Then he helped her get her bright yellow purse and together they threw in some of her money.

When we got to the store we followed our usual routine... Divide and conquer. I rushed off to get groceries like I was on Supermarket Sweep or something and John took the girls to look at fun things. When we reunited, Brooke excitedly showed me her prized item that she was going to buy... A silly little light up toy that spins. To her it was something wonderful to behold! She clinched onto it tightly until it was time to put it on the conveyor belt and pay for it. The grand total of her first purchase? A mere $4.32. She fumbled through her little purse, spilling out one dollar bills without even knowing it, and proudly surrendered her earnings to the the cashier. She was beaming with pride and so excited. It was one of those moments that I just started at here with amazement over how much I love her. I can't describe it.

My little girl is getting so big and her independence is growing by the day. It really is hard to see her as anything more than that tiny baby I gave birth to but seeing her with her spending her own money made me realize that she is anything but that. Oh how I love her!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

"In Sickness and In Health"

How ironic is it that just a few days shy of our fifth wedding anniversary John is the sickest I've ever seen him?? He's a very healthy man that very, very rarely gets sick. Heck, he barely even catches the colds and bugs that the girls and I get. The vow to love him in sickness and health has been extremely easy on my end... Until now. Lol.

He came home from work yesterday morning running a 103 degree fever and that never happens for him. He was complaining that his head was pounding but he still dug us out of the snow that we had gotten that night. The fever has been awfully high and persistent so he finally let me take him to the doctor this morning. Sure enough, he has strep throat. UGH!!!! He has been sicker than a dog and has literally slept, only to wake up for more medicines to get his fever down. He also has barely eaten anything or had much of anything to drink. I feel so bad for him because he's one tough cookie so I know he must be really, really sick to be acting this miserably.

I've decided that as awful as it is to have sick kids, it's worse having a sick husband. When he's sick, I'm pretty much on my own and don't really have anyone on my "team." When the girls are sick it's horrible... Don't get me wrong... But at least he has energy to help me out with them. I really just miss his company and friendship right now but he needs to rest and I'm sure he'll back to usual in no time.

You know how it is when your kids have a stomach bug you can convince yourself your stomach hurts? Well right now I can't decide if my throat hurts. Lol. It really doesn't but I keep swallowing and evaluating if it's sore or not. I've been sterilizing everything like a mad woman and using lots and lots of bleach to try to kill any germs that might be hanging around here. The last thing we need is for me to get sick.. Or the girls for that matter.

I've asked this before but is this EVER going to end? I'm so sick of having my family so sick! We have all of these gift cards from Christmas for various restaurants and we've used none of them because we haven't all been well at one time to go out to eat together. Friday is our anniversary and we have plans for a nice night out but I'm trying not to get my hopes up until it actually happens. You never know with this family!

Alrighty, I'm off to get some more drugs for my man. Hopefully he wakes feeling much better tomorrow! I'm praying that the rest of us steer clear of this, too!

Friday, January 21, 2011

9 Weeks and Counting!

When I first found out I was pregnant I was a little bit overwhelmed. I remember telling myself that I had 9 whole months in front of me and that I wouldn't freak out until I had 9 weeks to go. Well, before I even knew what hit me, my C-Section in only 9 weeks away from today. HOLY COW! How did this happen???

I have so many anxieties going through my mind right now. First and foremost, I'm so NOT looking forward to the actual C-Section. Last time was really awful for so many reasons... I kind of "lost it" once I got into the operating room just because I was so afraid and then Adrienne was sick and I couldn't even be with her for the first 24 hours of her life. All of those factors have me worried sick but I'm trying to tell myself that worry is a sin and NOT of God so I should knock it off! I've been having random C-Section related nightmares for the past couple of nights and I know it's because my mind is focused so heavily on it.

I'm also starting to feel like time is quickly running short for Adrienne to be my "baby." I remember feeling very unsettled before Adrienne was born because I didn't want to misplace Brooke too much but she did wonderfully. Adrienne is actually more content and easy-going than Brooke ever was (if that's even possible!) so I'm confident that she'll handle it well. Change is just hard for someone like me to process. I like to be in control of things but that's just not life!

In addition, I'm beginning to feel tons of pressure to get everything done to prepare our home for a new baby. Cupboards and closets should probably get hit with some organization and I should probably start going through all of our newborn clothes to figure out what we'll need to buy. Next month Adrienne will be getting her big girl bed to match Brooke's (they'll be sharing a room) and so that's a huge burden to me right now. Will Adrienne transfer okay? How will it impact nap time and bedtime? There is just so much to be done and I know my busy mind won't rest until I do it!

Most importantly, however, I can't wait to meet my Bailey girl. I'm more curious about who she is with each passing day. Now that she's bigger and I can feel her movements almost constantly, I'm more mindful of her presence. I can't wait to enjoy her and have all of the sentiments of a newborn baby. She will be our last baby so this process has been a little bittersweet for me. When it's all said and done, however, I think it will just feel great to know that our family is complete.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Returning to Normal

I am happy to report that my girls are getting back to their normal selves! Brooke still has a nasty cough and runny nose, along with some occasional wheezing, but she's pretty much got all of her energy back. Adrienne still struggles with her breathing and requires nebulizer treatments from time to time but her other symptoms are almost all gone. I'm so glad that we're done with fevers and being up all night!

Today was a VERY exciting day because we got out of the house! We just went to Target and got popcorn and walked around. Ah, the simple things in life! We also went to my sister's house for lunch and the girls were thrilled to be able to play with their cousins again. There was virtually no fighting between all the kids (a rarity) and I could tell that absence really had made all of their hearts grow fonder.

Another wonderful thing about today was that we actually got to go to church again! We're used to being there twice a week and it had been almost 2 weeks since we had gone. It was nice to receive so many warm welcomes from everyone and to feel missed. I also got to play the piano again which was wonderful because I always hate not being able to be there to play.

Ya know, it occurred to me mid-post that I'm probably jinxing myself here! There are all sorts of nasty viruses and bugs going around and I'm just praying that my girls don't catch any of them. I'm not sure that I'm up for another 2 weeks cooped up with sick girls. I tell ya, it's so hard to keep them healthy in the winter months!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pneumonia, Take 2

I took Adrienne into the doctor this morning to see what was going on with her. I suspected maybe she had an ear infection or an upper respiratory infection but it was far worse than that. She has pneumonia:-( Poor girl!

It's been kind of a hard morning for me because she's very sick. Her oxygen levels were in the low 80's and they like them to be over 95. In addition, her heart rate was over 160, which is apparently dangerously high. The plan was to admit her into the hospital unless they could easily bring her numbers back to a good spot. After several treatments she responded well and they armed me with an antibiotic and some more medicines for our breathing machine and sent us on our way. However, now that I'm home, I'm worried sick about my girl. I have a pretty bad case of asthma so you would think I could easily spot a child in distress but honestly, I didn't notice anything abnormal about Adrienne's breathing other than a little wheezing. They told me to bring her to the hospital immediately if her heart started racing like that again or if she was struggling to breathe but I find myself questioning my ability to even realize when that is. I'm almost wishing that they had just admitted her for the night because I'm so worried that something is going to happen.

I feel so heavy hearted right now. Knowing that I have one baby who is very sick and another who still sounds awful just puts a pit on my stomach. Adrienne's fever has been pretty high and both girls are receiving breathing treatments throughout the day. It's just overall a lot of work. I'm not complaining but I actually just feel extremely bad for them because it's eating up their whole life right now! Brooke had me cracking up this morning... "Mom, are we going anywhere today?" I told her that we would still be staying home and she said, "But can't I still have a matching bow in my hair?" Lol. Yes, my sweet little drama queen, a matching bow would be just fine:-)

It stinks because our amazing pediatrician who we trust so, so much will be not be in the office tomorrow due to Martin Luther King Day so I'll have to wait for the girls to be rechecked by him later in the week. Who knows? Maybe by then they'll be all better and we won't need to see him. Something tells me that's wishful thinking though!

Good is still good. Life is still wonderful. Being a mommy is still the best job ever, hands down. We'll get through. We always do!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Lessons Learned

Well, as my luck would have it, Adrienne started showing signs that she was getting sick yesterday and was up screaming last night. This afternoon she began running a fever and her cough sounds even worse than Brooke's now. I've been feeling frustrated due to all of this sickness that's been running our lives for the past two, going on three, weeks. I'm starting to feel like a caged animal and dying to just get out! Soon enough, though.

Through it all, I'm so proud to say that I'm growing more and more content to be home. I've mentioned before that not being able to get out much has always been a challenge for me to deal with but these past couple of weeks have been teaching me a few things:

*I'm SO lucky! The fact that God has given me a husband who provides for us so that I don't have to work outside the home is just incredible to me. He has so much drive and motivation to work extra shifts in order to give us niceties and that means the world to me. Because of John's hard-working attitude, when my girls are sick I don't have to pick between them or going to work. Instead, I can simply devote every second of my day to them without fear of losing my job or getting behind.

*I am blessed to have children who are very healthy. Sure, they're sick right now, but some parents sit in hospital rooms day and after day with chronically sick children who may never get better. This, for us, is temporal, and I don't want to take that for granted.

*My girls are happiest... At home. It's nice to be out and see people but home is where they are them true selves and where we spend the most time laughing.

*An entire morning can be eaten up by throwing them in the tub. Holy cow! We wake up, eat breakfast, play for a bit or read some books, and then it's bath time. They often stay in there for over and hour and laugh hysterically together.

*There is never a shortage of things to do at home. Looking back, that is one of the biggest reasons I always hated being "cooped up" because I would fear that I would be bored. For a busy girl like me, that's not a fun thought! However, I'm more busy than ever. We're always baking something or doing one fun activity or another. We keep quite busy! Sometimes I'll wake up and think "What in the world will we do today" but that worry quickly disappears once we start moving.

*Just because you're home doesn't mean you can't look your best! The temptation has always been for me to not really fix my hair or do my make up when I know I'm "just" staying in but I find that I feel so much better when I still devote a few precious minutes for myself, regardless of our plans for the day. During the girls' hour long bath (on average), I try to do my hair at least and it does wonders for how I feel. It's the little things!

*I absolutely love being a mom. I've always known that but whenever one of my girls is sick, it just reaffirms that to me. I love that when my nurturing, compassionate side is called upon that I get joy out of it. My daughters want only ME when they're sick (unless, of course, Daddy is around) and I so enjoy being that go-to person for them.

After being a stay-at-home mom for right around 4 years now, I never thought I would get to this point. It's been my prayer that God would show me to be content within the walls of my home and I feel like I'm really coming to a good place with that right now. I still really enjoy getting out and interacting with people but I'm realizing that a day at home isn't wasted or any less exciting than the days where we get to bust out of here!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Are You Ready to Save Some Money???

Several of you have sent me questions about all the money I save so thought I would use this post to answer them. Mega money saving has become a passion of mine and I'm always happy to help share the things that I have learned (and am still learning!)

Here are the steps I would take to get started-

1. Start getting the Sunday newspaper each week. Some weeks the coupons are so good that I actually buy 2 papers. For example, Gillette gives awesome $4 off coupons that make men's razors free with the right deal so I always make sure to get several papers on those weeks. Other weeks you might use none of the coupons but make sure you hang on to them until they expire because you might be able to pair them with deals in future weeks.

2. Sign up for a CVS Extra Care Card. It's free and simple and only takes a few minutes in the store. In addition, go online and sign up for their email list and you will receive awesome money-saving emails. I got a FREE $4 coupon on my birthday!

3. There are other drug stores that offer the same types of rewards system as CVS (Rite Aid, Walgreens) but in my personal opinion, it's best to get started with just one drug store. It can be overwhelming at first and when you're trying to juggle three different stores worth of deals, it can be a bit much. I did CVS only for my first year and about three months ago I threw Rite Aid into the mix.

4. Now, for the actual money saving part... As I alluded to earlier, CVS (and the other drug stores) have these amazing things called Extra Care Bucks. If you look in their ad each week, it will tell you the items that give you these wonderful treasures. (Slight exaggeration, maybe??) The goal is to buy items that give you ECB using ECB from other purchases. For example, this is what I did this week...

*I had 12 ECB left from last week (it might take a few weeks of actual out of pocket spending to gain ECB but that's to be expected) so I got my CVS ad and looked for items that would yield around the same amount of ECB.

*They were running a sale on Air Wick where you received $10 in ECB if you spent $20. I didn't need Air Wick items but I used the coupons in Sunday paper that brought my total down to $11. I then applied my ECB from last week, paid only a dollar for all of that stuff, and was then given $10 in ECB in return.

*I turned right around and used a Huggies $3 off coupon, a CVS email coupon that gave me $4 off of $20, along with my newly acquired ECB and then got a jumbo box of Huggies Diapers for $3. Oh yes, and I got 3 ECB after that.

*When it was all said and done, I walked out of CVS spending under $5 for diapers (which are always nice to stock pile!), along with other household items that I can put away for future uses. Such a great feeling!

5. Another thing to remember is that Buy One Get On Free (BOGO) sales combined with BOGO coupons= FREE! I always watch my BOGO coupons like a hawk and am eager to jump on any sales that I can use to get such items for free. This week I got $10 worth Of Stay Free products absolutely FREE because of this.

6. I consider myself to be a amateur in the coupon world. There are many bloggers out there that put my knowledge to shame! Use them to your advantage. My favorite sites include... MoneySavingMom.Com and ChaChingOnAShoeString.Com. These women will give you weekly scenarios for money saving (though I think it's more fun to come up with my own!), along with online deals, frugal recipes, etc..

I hope that this has answered some of your questions! It may seem daunting at first but once you get going and start saving massive amounts of money, you'll most likely be hooked like me! Don't hesitate to ask me more questions if I've confused you at all:-)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Update on Brookie

Brooke was up again all last night with a high fever that wouldn't go down and she was obviously struggling to breathe. I sure didn't sleep very much because I was so worried about her!

I had a gut feeling that she wasn't okay so I took her in to her pediatrician (because we had gone to the Walk In on Wednesday) and sure enough, her bronchitis has turned into full fledged pneumonia. Poor princess! They were going to send her for a chest X-Ray but the doctor said that the treatment would be the same regardless so he didn't want to put her through that. He gave her a stronger antibiotic along with some medications for the breathing machine. I'm hoping to have my happy, healthy, energetic girl back in no time!

Heaven help me if there's more sickness lurking next week. We've been put through the ringer!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Sickness:-(

I was just mentioning the other day how my children never get ear infections and are usually healthy. I totally jinxed us because now my sweet Brooke is more sick than ever:-( She had been running a high fever and I took her to the doctor today to find that she has croup, bronchitis, and a double ear infection. Oh my word! I'm thankful that she's on an antibiotic for her ears but the croup and bronchitis are apparently viral so she has to let them run their course. My poor princess!

It's been a rough couple of nights as she is up a lot with fevers and constant coughing. The coughing really never ends and she has actually thrown up a couple of times due to the forceful nature of the coughs. Her little eyes are all puffy from getting such little amounts of sleep so she's an altogether heartbreaking sight lately! She really doesn't get off the couch much which is so weird because I'm used to her being full of energy!

John has been off and he's absolutely incredible. He has a way with Brooke that just calms her down and he has really helped take a lot of the stress off of me. Unfortunately he has to go back in tonight and I'm NOT looking forward to being without him. I'll make due though.. It's not like I have a choice.

Between last week's reoccurring stomach bugs and now this, I am one fried mama. By some miracle the house is clean and laundry is done so that's good but I'm just ready for two healthy girls again!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Frugal Living

John and I were getting ready for bed the other night and as he was taking out his contacts he said, "Hey babe, we're almost out of solution. Would you grab some this week?" Proud and happy, I opened up the linen closet and held up three bottles of stuff and asked him which he wanted (just because I could). Ah, it felt good! I have been on this coupon frenzy for over a year now and I absolutely love the thrill of getting household items for absolutely nothing or for as little as pennies. This is definitely evident by my insane stock pile of tooth brushes, tooth paste (14 tubes, to be exact), cleaning products, laundry detergent, make-up, shampoo, body washes, deodorants, Glade candles, razors, and of course, contact solution. I'm running out of room to put the stuff!

About a year ago I felt really convicted about our grocery spending and that I wasn't really doing much to help defray the costs. I used to just go to the grocery store and buy whatever sounded good but for a good while now, things have been really different. I am on a grocery budget that really helps me stay in check and I enjoy it. John gives me a lump sum in cash once a month and I love it that way because I try to do only one big trip once a month and then go every week for sale items, fruits, milk, and bread. It works out great! We use debit cards for everything else but I find that I keep a closer hold on my grocery money when it's given to me in cash.

On top of implementing a new budget, I clip coupons with the best of them and watch the sales guides like a hawk! Ya see, I have learned that if I can get most of the necessary household items for free then my grocery budget is that much more generous. I can afford steaks and the occasional treat of crab legs or shrimp because I've planned wisely. I'm not trying to make it seem like our budget is that meager, but really, we're spending a significantly lower amount than we were. That is definitely something to be proud of!

Just today I went to CVS and got about $65 worth of stuff for $4.32 with $3 back in Extra Care Bucks. Amongst the items purchased in that trip was a jumbo box of Huggies for Adrienne. Heck yeah! I get such a sense of pride being able to come home with all of these items without spending much at all. Many times I don't spend anything (thanks to Extra Care Bucks) but diapers aren't something that I can get 100% free.

Being a stay-at-home-mom, I feel like the only way I can "make up" for creating no income for our family is to save us money when I can. Clipping coupons and deal seeking take time but when you see the money start falling off your grocery bills, you'll get why I'm addicted. It's nice, though, because now that I have such an enormous stock pile, I can be more laid back and not get so worked up about catching every deal. I'll take a few weeks off here or there but the truth is, I could take a year or more off from supplying my stock pile and I wouldn't run out of anything. No joke! I would have DEFINITELY been prepared for Y2K! Lol

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Series of Unfortunate Events

It all started on Monday night when Brooke began to throw up. She threw up about 2 times but was seemingly fine after that. We kept her home from gymnastics on Tuesday morning just to be courteous of the other people but she really was okay.

Over 48 hours later, Adrienne fell sick on Wednesday night. From 10:30 that night until about 1, she threw up 5 times but was completely fine the next morning. She wanted to eat breakfast and kept every bit of it down. Oddly enough, Brooke started to complain that her belly hurt and was very lethargic on Thursday evening but has thankfully been fine since then.

Yesterday morning came and both girls seemed to be going great. We had a nice morning at home but because John was working a double, my dad picked us up and took us to dinner with the family. We had a nice night and apart from Adrienne not eating well (which is not unusual), it was a typical night. About 12 last night I was about to close my eyes for the night and what do you know... Adrienne started throwing up again. The worst part was that it didn't even wake her up so when I tried to reach in her crib to get her, she pitched a fit and threw herself back down, landing in the mess. It was a nightmare. I gave her a quick bath and cleaned her up and let her sleep with me until I knew she was done throwing up. She didn't end up getting sick again, thankfully, and was in her bed a few hours later.

So here we are on Saturday morning... And if I wasn't so tainted from the horrible experiences we've had this week I would say that both girls seem 100 percent fine. However, I happen to wonder if we'll be doing this all over again in another 48 hours? That seems to be the trend. Every time one of them coughs I'm after them with a bowl because in my house, you just never know.

Ya know, we've been fortunate with our children... They never get ear infections (each girl has had maybe 1 or 2), they don't catch all of the colds or respiratory infections that spread like wildfire, and they have really good overall health. HOWEVER, they seem to catch any and every little stomach virus and they always have a very hard time getting over them. I'm not sure how much of is the fact that their bellies are sensitive... They both had nasty reflux as babies, Brooke can't eat certain foods without it sending her to the bathroom, and Adrienne is lactose intolerant. Even so, why would that make them more susceptible to all of these nasty stomach bugs? I don't get it.

So, yeah, it's been a long, long week. I could definitely win an award for the most laundry detergent used or the most time spent scrubbing stains out of clothes, but who's counting?? I'm truly exhausted and fried and my saving grace so far is that John and I have remained healthy. KNOCK ON WOOD!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Amazing Baked Oatmeal

I have an amazing recipe that I just couldn't help but share! It's healthy, it's filling, it's cheap, and most importantly, everyone loves it. What more could a mama want??? My whole family loved it this morning and it's one of those meals that just sticks to your bones.

All you need is:

*3 cups of rolled oats
*1 cup of brown sugar (although I cut the sugar in half and added homemade apple sauce and honey to compliment the sweetness)
*1 tablespoon of cinnamon
*1 teaspoon of salt
*2 teaspoons of baking powder
*1 cup of milk
*2 teaspoons of vanilla
*1/2 of melted butter (I cut this by half, too)
*2 eggs, beaten

You simply mix all the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. I seriously think it took me about 3 minutes to prepare! All you do after that is bake it for about 30 minutes on 325. I baked ours last night and then this morning, all I had to do was cut it into individual squares, pour a splash of milk over it, and then microwave it for 30 seconds. It was absolutely incredible!

There are countless variations of this, too! I am most excited for blueberry season when I can add fresh blueberries. I had thought to put some dried cranberries or raisins in it but with my kids, the more simple the better. I think even a mushed up banana would be great in there, as well.

The girls really love dry cereal but I don't love feeding it to them because I don't feel like it has much nutritional value or like it keeps them full. This was a great alternative that I could feel good about feeding them.

Ah, I just love being a housewife. Feeding and taking care of my family makes me feel so happy and I get a huge sense of pride from doing so. I guess that's evident from that fact that I'm so overwhelmingly excited over something as simple as baked oatmeal! :-)

Monday, January 3, 2011

My Achin' Back

I have been in excruciating pain in my lower back for about 2 weeks now. It comes and it goes but there are times when I literally can't walk. It has been so hard! John has been very helpful and I've been trying not to complain but it's frustrating to be in such awful pain while we're going about our day.

I've read up on it and everyone keeps telling me that it's just sciatic nerve pain from where the baby is laying. It sounds like a pretty routine problem and I always feel like my doctor will think I'm a hypochondriac for calling about every little ache or pain so I've just been waiting it out. I'm going on Wednesday for my glucose testing and 28 week appointment so I'm eager to see the doctor then.

I can deal with this but I just feel bad for the girls because it's hard to get down on the floor to play with them and it's hard to pick them up. Adrienne is pretty independent but she still likes to be held by her mama sometimes. Luckily the pain is minimal while sitting so we can snuggle all we like. I just hope they don't feel as frustrated by all of this as I do!

This pregnancy has been the most difficult of my pregnancies, by far. The morning sickness was worse, the awful breathing issues combined with bouts of bronchitis and pneumonia, insatiable thirst and excessive dizziness, and now this. It's so funny though because the little princess is kicking like crazy right now and I instantly know that it's all worth it. Heck, you could multiply all the negative aspects of this pregnancy by 100 and I would still say it's worth it.